Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 16, 2018

I’m breaking the every-other-week cadence of these Trail Log posts since it’s unlikely that I’ll get a post out next Sunday.

Another slow fountain pen week. I did manage to do some writing on a couple nights, simply to use my fountain pens.

It’s more of a tangent, but most of my fountain pen work was redoing my fountain pen records. I finally reached the limits of my frustration with Synology Note Station, which I have been using for years. It was that time investment, and the lack of an easy migration that kept me using it. I had stopped using it for anything other than fountain pens. I’m moving them to DevonThink. It’s going quicker than expected, thanks to a Keyboard Maestro macro or two.

One thing that the exercise made apparent was how long it’s been since I used many of my pens. The records were sorted by most recently inked, and it didn’t take long to reach fountain pens that haven’t been inked all year. It’s time these pens found a home where they’ll be used. So, of the 100 pens I’ve entered so far, I’ve marked over half to be sold or given away. My impulse is to start now, while it’s top of mind. But, it will probably be at the beginning of the year.

Links

Some early thoughts on the Cross Townsend, quartz blue fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog

Pelikan, Pelican, Pélican: The How And Why Behind The “C” « The Pelikan’s Perch

My Duofold Duo. | Fountain pen blog

Syrringes for refilling – The InkSmudge

Review: CaliArts Ego Fountain Pen | Comfortable Shoes Studio

Mentmore Auto-Flow – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

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Review: Esterbrook Estie

Esterbrook Estie - in boxThe Esterbrook Estie is my latest fountain pen acquisition. This Estie, along with a couple of TWSBI Go fountain pens, are my only pen purchases of the year. So, expectations are high. I also go the optional $40 MV adapter which allows the use of vintage Esterbrook nibs with the pen. For me, the MV adapter was the sole reason to get the pen. This made it a fountain pen with a street price of nearly $200.

##What I Got

Esterbrook Estie as deliveredI bought the regular size Esterbrook Estie with the tortoise acrylic, palladium trim, and a fine steel nib. The pen comes with a standard Schmidt converter already in the barrel. It takes standard international cartridges & converters. An oversized version of the pen is also available, but only with the ebony acrylic.

I also got the MV (modern to vintage) adapter, which is only available in black. Black does work with any of the acrylics, but it would have been nice to have matching adapters. At $40 the adapter seems a bit expensive, so offering a variety of colors would probably be cost prohibitive.

The MV adapter comes in a cloth pouch that includes a converter that fits the adapter. The included international converter is a tad too long to screw the barrel and section together. It also seemed a little loose, so I’d recommend only using the converter that came with the adapter, even if you have a shorter standard international converter.

##First Impressions

Esterbrook Estie - cappedI like the classic torpedo shape of the Estie. This is probably a good time to mention that nothing about this pen reminds me of my vintage Esterbrooks. I could probably conjure a link, but I didn’t buy the pen because of nostalgia, so I’m not at all disappointed.

View on the internal rings, most noticeable just above the cap in the photo

View on the internal rings, most noticeable just above the cap in the photo

The acrylic has more translucence than I expected. This isn’t a good thing because the rings from drilling (or polishing) are visible inside the barrel. The solid lines around the barrel detract from the beautiful design of the acrylic. Once seen, they can’t be unseen. They’re slightly less visible once the converter is added and blocks some of the light. The other, less translucent, acrylics wouldn’t have this problem. Still, for a $200 pen, I would expect the polishing to be complete if the acrylic is translucent.

Overall, the pen made a good first impression. The incomplete polishing inside the barrel keeps it from being a great first impression.

##Writing with the Estie

Esterbrook Estie w/modern JoWo nib and converter

Esterbrook Estie w/modern JoWo nib and converter

I decided to try the stock JoWo nib before moving on to Esterbrook nibs. I inked it up with Sheaffer red. The fine nib was a smooth writer. I left it stored nib up for over 24 hours, and it wrote immediately without any skipping. There wasn’t any skipping or hard starts from the time I inked it up to when I wrote it dry. Overall, the writing experience was delightful.

Estie with vintage nib, MV adapter and converter

Estie with vintage nib, MV adapter and converter

Then I switched to vintage Esterbrook nibs, using the MV adapter. My expectations were high, which probably amplified my disappointment., but it was a rough start. I picked the Esterbrook #8440 as my first nib. It fits in the adapter just fine, and I filled the converter through the nib. It failed to write, a total lack of ink flowing through the nib, even after spending over an hour nib down. The #8440 is a super fine cartography nib, so I switched to the #9550 extra fine nib. I again filled it through the nib, and there was a complete lack of ink flow. Both nibs worked fine and immediately wrote in a vintage Esterbrook J pen. Which annoyed me since I now had another pen to clean. I went up a couple nib sizes and installed a #9460 medium nib. It did take a little time, but eventually, the ink flow hit its stride after the pen spent a couple minutes nib down. If I pause and hold the pen nib up for even a few moments (~10 seconds) the line becomes very thin and requires some time nib down for the flow to return.

Esterbrook Estie with vintage Esterbrook Nib

Esterbrook Estie with vintage Esterbrook Nib

My uninformed guess is that the ink needs to collect between the converter and nib unit, and if it isn’t there the converter can’t get enough ink to in time. My Newton Eastman (which is customized for vintage Esterbrook nibs) is eyedropper filled and doesn’t have any flow problems (except so much flow that ink splatter inside the cap if the pen is jostled in a bag). There’s metal inside the Estie’s barrel, so eyedropper filling isn’t an option.

The Estie has a “pressure fit” cap which should prevent ink evaporation. The cap takes a little over one complete rotation to cap or uncap. The “pressure fit” aspect is noticeable when uncapping and uncapping. I haven’t used the pen long enough to judge this, but it sure seems like a tight seal. That said, I was a little annoyed by the cap, and it takes some getting used to. I often hold and fidget with, the cap in my left hand as I write and will, almost absent-mindlessly, cap the pen when I pause. I found this jarring when I did it with this cap. I did eventually become more used to it, but I still notice it, and it interrupts my thoughts. I will probably get used to it.

The clip easily slips over my shirt pocket material.

##Summary.

As a modern fountain pen, ignoring the MV adapter, this pen has a lot of competition at its $150 price point ($185 MSRP). If the pen appeals to you, then it would be worth getting. There’s nothing that stands out as superior about this pen. It’s a nice since, comfortable in my hand, and a good writer. I’d recommend a finish other than the tortoise acrylic unless you can inspect the quality of the interior polishing before purchasing.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase, It will allow me to use my vintage Esterbrook nibs in a pen that’s comfortable to use.

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – December 9, 2018

Another slow fountain pen week for me. Considering the dearth of links below, I guess I’m not the only one. There’s still the usual product reviews, but I skip over those these days as I concentrate on using what I have and have little interest in new pens or ink. I do like reading about vintage pens which is obvious from my link selection.

Links

Parker Duofold Junior Streamline – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Christmas Currently Inked – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

How It Gets From Me To You – Goodwriterspens’s Blog // Interesting to see that I’m not the only one who has packages sit in U.S. customs for days. Although for me the incoming fly right through, and the outgoing languishes in U.S. customs.

The Golden Guinea M2 – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

A Peek at the Pen Cup: The “I Am So Normal” Edition – Fountain Pen Follies

Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – November 25, 2018

A very slow week for fountain pen usage. A few lists, not much else. With the first snow of the year, I made the “Montana” (a.k.a. Ugly Sweater) Retro 51 as the standard carry in my Fodderstack XL.

Retro 51 Tornado Popper Montana

Links

Ink Foraging in Central Park | The New Yorker

Artisan writes tale of success with handmade pen business | WTOP

Staff Picks and a Fountain Pen Quiz Amongst Friends – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

My Title Bag Is Empty – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Adventures in Fountain Pen Repair and Restoration: Esterbrooks – Fountain Pen Follies

A look at the Montblanc Meisterstuck No. 12 fountain pen. | Fountain pen blog

What’s Next? – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Daily Carry – The InkSmudge

My 2018 Ohio Pen Show Haul – Fountain Pen Follies

Caleb and a Pencil Meet – Wonder Pens – Life Behind a Stationery Shop

A Dip Pen With Stanhope – Goodwriterspens’s Blog

Currently Inked – November 2018

As November was starting up my fountain pens were running dry. So, it was time to ink up some pens. Obviously, it’s no longer the beginning of November. It’s taken me a while to get this post up.

For some reason, more whim than reason, I decided not to use converters. I’d use cartridges or piston fillers. I inked up eight new fountain pens to join my four carry-overs.

The four pens being carried over are:

Edison Huron Grande with an extra-fine nib, used as an eyedropper fill with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. A nice big pen that’s comfortable in my hand. The ink was a top five favorite not too long ago. It spent some time on hiatus, but it’s back and reminding me why it’s a favorite. The size of this pen, plus the lack of a clip (or a roll stop) makes the pen a finicky traveler, so it’s a homebody.

Newton Eastman with an Esterbrook #9788 Flexible Medium nib with a barrel full of Montblanc Psychedelic Purple “The Beatles” ink. “Flexible” in the name is more aspirational than reality, but I do really like the nib. This is another homebody pen. Also large and clip-less, but added to that is a tendency to splatter ink into the cap if it’s jostled a lot.

TWSBI Go Sapphire with a broad nib and Monteverde Emotion Wisdom Purple ink. I really like the TWSBI GO pens. But broad nibs aren’t my wheelhouse, so this pen doesn’t get much use. It will be inked for a long time.

Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe with an extra-fine nib, and a Sailor Kiwa-Guro pigmented ink cartridge. This Japanese extra-fine nib puts down one of the thinnest lines of any of my nibs, short of needlepoints. It’s also one of my smoothest nibs. This is the pen that’s been traveling in my Nock Co Foddertack XL, paired with the Retro 51 Corona rollerball.

The newly inked pens are:

Pilot Vanishing Point Cherry Bamboo with a medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Sepia ink.

Pilot Vanishing Point Guilloche with an XXXF nib and a Pilot Red cartridge. For some reason, this black pens attracts red or black inks. The XXXF nib calls for a red ink suitable for marking up documents, something this retractable fountain pen is well-suited to do.

Pilot Vanishing Point Maplewood with an oblique medium nib and a cartridge of Pilot Black ink. The angle of the nib is perfect for the way the pen sits in my hand.

Kaweco Brass Sport with an extra fine nib and a Montblanc Petite Prince Red Fox ink cartridge. The brass is heavily tarnished, just from sitting in the pen case. Typically I’d polish it up a bit before using it, but this time I decided to go as-is and see if using it changes what looks like corrosion to something that resembles a nice patina.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla with a medium nib and Aurora Black ink. I like this pen more than I thought I would. For some reason, I felt like matching this pen with Aurora Black ink.

Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with an Oblique Medium nib and Montblanc Bordeaux ink. My favorite ink in my favorite nib for long writing sessions.

Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with an extra-fine nib. I filled it with Iroshizuku Fuyu-syogun. OK, I have to admit that I forgot this ink was still in the Edison Huron Grande. I do like the ink, but I would have preferred some variety. Even the nib size is the same.

Visconti Brunelleschi with a medium nib and Diamine Terra-cotta ink. This pen has been writing dryer than I expected. It’s a bit dry, even for me. If I hadn’t filled it through the feed, I would have thought there were some flow issues. It has gotten a little better, although that’s more because I’ve gotten used to it.

Naturally, my fountain pen usage dropped soon after inking those new pens (well, freshly added to the rotation), but it’s beginning to pick up.